Teacher wait-times in physics instruction of different duration (45 VS. 60/90 minutes)

Rainer Wackermann, Philip Timmerman, Heiko Krabbe


In recent times, some schools in Germany change the traditional 45-minutes lesson duration to 60 or 90 minutes. Little is known about the impact on the quality of instruction. Teachers’ wait-time after asking questions is related to the cognitive activation of pupils. This exploratory study pursues the question whether a prolongation of lesson duration changes the average wait-time of four individual physics teachers. The finding is that the teachers under investigation show slightly longer wait-times than other teachers reported in literature, and that wait-time improvement does not happen automatically with lesson prolongation. In conclusion, teacher wait-time seems more likely to be a stable characteristic of the individual teacher. Wait-time improvement seemingly does not happen automatically with lesson prolongation, but probably needs sensitization and additional training.


Lesson duration, Quality of instruction, Question level, Stability of teacher characteristic, Video study, Wait-time

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25321/prise.2018.756


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About The Authors

Rainer Wackermann
ORCID iD Ruhr-University Bochum

Philip Timmerman
Ruhr-University Bochum

Heiko Krabbe
Ruhr-University Bochum